But since I don't work at the bar tonight, I decided, in the spirit of a "day off" to change it up. Until I got a load of all the apocalyptic warnings in re: super-winds-and-hail-and-tornados-type storms, all day long. Which would mean I'd have to do my route on the bus, since my brakes aren't too hot and I don't really have any rain-gear appropriate for riding.
But after careful research over breakfast I decided the storm wouldn't really roll in until at least after 3, by which time I could be somewhere doing something fun. Or "fun" for me; I had made a playlist of some of the most melodramatic, heavy-duty bummer music I could find from my early teen years, and I would satiate my inner brooding adolescent by walking around the lakeshore park in the catastrophic weather with headphones, thinking 'bout how nobody really "gets" me. So off I went, fully expecting my day would end with me crushed under a tree or electrocuted by lightning while spacing out to Rachels "Music for Egon Schiele" Oh boy!
I battled wind and traffic, making the best time all week-- I was walking my last dog around 1:20. (The day took a harrowing turn at one point, when I shared the elevator with the heartbreakingly cute redheaded dogwalker/artist I've been stammering around the last couple months-- her charge walked around me, sniffing my bag and shoes, binding the leash all the way around me. But before I could extricate myself, she wrapped her arms around me and passed the leash to her other hand, untying us. My heart stopped cold, since that was easily the most contact I've had with a woman (or man, for that matter) in at least four months. It would have been awkward and possibly sexy if there hadn't been a painter in the elevator with us, waggling his eyebrows at me. Seriously, my heart stopped dead.)
1:30 and the sky is sunny and clear. I find a place along the lakeshore, laying down on a concrete slab in the sun, head on backpack, foot wedged into the spokes of my rear wheel, and dozed off in the sun for about half an hour. Woke up when a hoser came and stood 40 feet away, yelling into his cellphone. In this huge park, with literally miles of land, he chose to walk off the path and stop by me so he could regale his "bro" with whatever d-bag story he was chortling about. So I rode down to the zoo.
I found this wonderful little park-within-the-park, the Something Something Orchid Pond adjacent to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where I found another stone slab on which to sit and zone out for a while. On the off-chance that I meet another girl someday, I've got this huge list of places in my head now where we could go and sit and be quiet and look at nature. Boy, if I do meet a girl, she better have some kind of condition where getting excited could kill her, otherwise I'll bore her into a coma.
Then into the zoo itself. I have real mixed feelings about zoos and circuses. I love animals-- any and all animals-- and I cat sit and hang out with them all day to the exclusion of humans. But it makes me a little nauseous to see them enclosed in those tiny habitats. The compulsive pacing back and forth, the restless overgrooming, all symptoms of captivity. But I do love to see (and smell) them; the implausible grace of a swimming polar bear, the casual lethality of the big cats, even the antics of the chubby zoo-squirrels-- what a life they lead! And abundance of food, just laying around, but always a chance of stumbling across a predator from half a world away.
Anyhoo, most of the animals weren't even out in the public viewing areas. Obviously, it was after 3, they were watching "Magnum P.I.".
However, by the time I mounted up and rolled out of the zoo, I realized that it was still sunny and balmy, and I had absolutely no interest in listening to two hours of depressing music. Whistling the theme to "The Jeffersons" I headed home.
(In my tradition of inadvertently giving my posts accidentally hilariously sexual titles, I nearly called this one "Storm My Ass". Dodged a bullet there, huh?)